Illusen loves all of the holidays. She has every special date memorized in her head, numbers set in stone that she looks forward to with an incredible amount of anticipation. There's one holiday she's not too fond of, and I'm sure it goes without saying which one (I'll say it here in the safeness of these parenthesis- Jhudora Day, February 4th). September 15th is a day she lets herself get over-excited about, stocking up chocolate nearly a week before the holiday so she won't run out while giving the citizens of Meridell- and the wandering ones from Brightvale- chocolate to celebrate The Annual Chocolate Ball.
As she always does, she wakes before the sun rises. She shares a cup of borovan with the farmers that rise just as early as she does. She watches the sun as it climbs over the hills, illuminating everything in its wake. As Meridell awakens, she hums to herself and dances to her kitchen, twirling with her empty borovan mug to an imaginary tune. She stops dead in her tracks when she catches a glimpse of her kitchen.
The sight before her makes her gasp. Her kitchen is covered in purple glitter, and all of her stored-up chocolate has been replaced with Jhudora's notorious poisonous lollypops. Her entire stash of Neocola is missing as well. That thief! She clenches her fists and angrily stomps her foot against the floor. Jhudora even stole her pink kadoaties magnets!
"That faerie is wicked! Absolutely despicable! Very, very, VERY UNCOOL!" Illusen cries as she dumps all of the lollypops into a sack. Amelia, the blue Kacheek that always visits at nine, pokes her head out from around the corner.
"Illusen? Are you all right? You sound mad." Amelia walks into the kitchen and takes in the sight before her. "Well, I'll be!"
Illusen nods, swinging the sack over her shoulder. "I have to confront her about this."
For the past few months, Illusen had been putting up with Jhudora's interfering very passively. If she could fight fire with fire, or in this case, dark with dark, Jhudora would simmer down. She should have taken this matter to Queen Fyora, because if anything, Jhudora simmered up.
Amelia sighs, obviously distressed. "Be careful, Illusen! We'll miss you terribly while you're gone!" She fiddles with the edge of her dress.
Illusen smiles at her comfortingly, taking the hand not worrying her dress into her own. She feels bad for making Amelia worried. "Don't worry, Amy, I'll be back before you know it."
Uneasily, Illusen takes flight and begins the journey to Faerieland. Faerieland falling hadn't been good for anyone, but it certainly made the trip from Meridell a lot shorter. She couldn't imagine having to live in Terror Mountain like Taelia. Flying over the people, her heart clenches. She always feels uneasy about leaving her home, now more than ever.
Jhudora confronts Illusen on the edge of the city, blocking her way with her hands on her hips. She has a dark brown smear around her mouth, and Illusen can guess what she was doing before she saw her flying in. A spark of anger flares in her belly as she glares heavily at the dark faerie.
"Did you like my present?" she asks, grinning maliciously. Her teeth are brown, too.
She feels anger surge throughout her whole body and can practically feel the steam coming out of her ears. "No! I did not! Now move so I can speak with Fyora!"
Jhudora pushes Illusen's shoulder, causing her to flutter back a few strides.
"Not cool!" Illusen shrieks. "What is your deal, Jhudora? We have an agreement!"
"Agreement?" Jhudora cackles, a sound that grates on Illusen's ears. "Yes, we agree to disagree."
A small crowd has assembled around them, watching curiously. This is definitely not the place Illusen wanted to do this, and not the day, or the right crowd.
"Agreeing to disagree is not stealing all of my chocolate and replacing it with-" she shakes the sack out in front of them, dumping the lollypops onto the ground, "-poisoned lollypops! I want my chocolate back, if you haven't eaten all of it already."
Jhudora's lip curls as she looks at the lollypops on the grass. "Never thought of doing that to them before I gave them out."
Illusen groans. "Focus, Jhudora!"
She sighs. "My excuse can't be that I wanted to see your face?"
"YOU WERE LITERALLY IN MY HOUSE!" A few cracks appear in the ground. Taking a few deep breaths, Illusen quickly fixes them. "I just want to celebrate this holiday with the people I care about in Meridell." A crowd of faeries come up behind Illusen, clearly supporting her.
Illusen glares at Jhudora. "This is out of hand. We're taking this to Fyora."
People hustling on the street stop and stare at the two bickering faeries, oddly entranced by the two enemies fighting like five-year-olds on the way to the castle to settle their feud being trailed by a gaggle of assorted faeries. The library faerie even peers her head out of the window of the library to watch the two.
"Like oil and water," she murmurs to the Wocky and the Lenny next to her. They nod in agreement.
"I heard Illusen punched her once," the Wocky says. The Lenny scoffs.
"Punched her? She probably threw a cookie at her or something."
The two faeries move through the castle, still bickering at each other, slapping each other randomly as they float on. The other faeries follow closely behind, joined by a few more as they continue through the city. The age-old arguments between them come bubbling to the surface every second Illusen and Jhudora carry on.
"Ruling all of Neopia? Did you not learn from The Darkest Faerie? Re-"
A loud cough interrupts them. Queen Fyora looks up from where she had been discussing something with a green Quiggle, who's standing awkwardly next to her holding an array of blueprints.
"What's going on, girls?" Fyora asks, her voice deadly calm as she looks at them. Illusen slowly retracts her hands from Jhudora.
"Jhudora stole all my chocolate," Illusen murmurs sheepishly. Jhudora simmers quietly next to her.
Fyora looks at the two of them assessingly. "Fernando, I'd like to go with the third plan," she says, never taking her eyes off the two faeries in front of her.
"Jhudora, why did you take all of Illusen's chocolate?"
Jhudora shifts from one foot to the other. "I took Illusen's chocolate because I hate her and I've always hated her."
"I'm assuming you don't have it, going by the looks of your teeth."
Jhudora nods, grinning. Illusen has no doubts that she poisoned all of the chocolate and was planning on returning it to her later. As always, there's no way to prove it.
Fyora sighs. "You'll have to have a chocolate-free day today. Not the worst thing you've done, I suppose. But, you realize we're rebuilding after a war, correct?"
Both faeries nods. Jhudora looks pleased, but Illusen looks outraged. They head out of the castle keeping a sizable distance between themselves.
"Goody two-shoes," Jhudora spits.
"Evil chocolate stealer," Illusen hisses back as they make their way out of the city. She begins the journey back to Meridell, the anger bubbling under her skin dulling to an uneasy acceptance.
A crowd of people greet her when she lands. She looks around at the citizens of Meridell questioningly.
"Did you guys miss me that much in the few hours I was away?" she teases, picking a young Kougra up in her arms.
"Of course!" An Ixi cries, coming up to her. "We heard about what happened, and we did the best we could to replace your chocolate."
Taking a closer look, she sees people gathering around her Glade, sharing cookies with each other.
"It's not the best," the Ixi starts, "but we know how much you were looking forward to today, so we-"
"I love it!" Illusen cries, kissing the top of the Ixi's head. "You're all wonderful, thank you very much!"
Amelia comes up, holding a chocolate chip up for Illusen. "Glad to see you home safe!" she chirps. Illusen happily takes the cookie.
"I've never been so glad to be home," she breathes, settling down in the grass with ease.
"Jhudora can't stop us!" Amelia exclaims.
"Yeah," Illusen laughs easily. "She really can't."